Three-Sided Football Kicks Off in Melbourne
A cold, Antarctic wind blew in from the south, rattling the windows and the bones of the 15 players who had earlier committed to play the first ever game of 3-sided football on Australian soil (possibly not true).
It seemed inevitable that the game would be cancelled as the rain pelted down in sheets. Surely the commitment was tenuous at best. A few emails, a handful of texts, this wasn’t enough to create a binding contract, surely? And it was 10 o’clock on a Sunday morning. Barnaby Chiverton must be, after all, out of his mind.
But turn up they did. Fifteen people, connected by their mutual acquaintance with Chiverton, arrived at a steady drip, wearing a diverse array of sporting outfits and staring dubiously at the ominous sky and the apparently randomly scattered bags that had been placed on the pitch as goalposts.
The only knowledge they had of 3-sided football was through an earlier exchange of fairly casual emails. Nevertheless, there was an air of expectation, perhaps a whiff of excitement and, before they knew it, teams had been spontaneously selected based on where the players happened to be standing. A quick briefing was subsequently trotted out and they were off, without uniform, whistle or referee.
The “All Sartres” got off to a good start, booting the first goal during a rush of confusion, before goals started being scored more regularly as players got the hang of the game, a feel for the ball and a familiarity with their teammates.
Pythagoras centre, Trevor, had begun imposing himself on the game, while All Sartre Kim K was proving a rock in defense. Meanwhile Marcus’s mad dashes through the centre confused everybody.
All present needed constant reminding that it was goals conceded, not goals scored, that determined the winner. At one-third time, “Pythagoras 3FC” had taken a narrow lead.
Pythagoras 3FC -3
Athletic Geometry -4
All Sartres -4
In the second third the pace quickened, the competitiveness intensified and all allusions to gentlemanly conduct were off the table, if they were ever on it. The scores ebbed and flowed as teams joined forces to score against whichever team was in the lead, and the lead itself changed regularly.
The Sartres’ Gavin had begun scoring at will, Geometry’s Barnaby had begun to sort out his team’s attack and Mat was proving to be a brick wall in the Pythagoras goals. Meanwhile Andrew F had left the field with a suspect groin.
At the end of the second third, and pleasing to the mathematicians present, scores were level.
Pythagoras 3FC -7
Athletic Geometry -7
All Sartres -7
The third and final term opened with a surprise double-crossing by the Sartres’ Kim S, outraging the entire Geometry team who threatened immediate revenge. Kim later conceded he may have “gone too early”.
Anthony and Ben were running out the game well for Pythagoras, Paula was proving a midfield enigma for Geometry while Lawrence held up the back end, and Sartres’ Dick went from hero to villain after lobbing through a long goal just prior to letting through a clever shot from Andrew S.
All was confusion right until the final moments when Barnaby called ‘time’ and it appeared Pythagoras 3FC were the first ever winners of the trophy that is yet to be named.
The presence of several youngsters, Eric (Pythagoras), Jonah (Sartres), Hugo (Geometry) and later Fergus, Henry C and Jacob, injected some run and dash into the game. A very special thanks must go to Serena for oranges, brownies and empanadas, and the All Sartres’ Saddy who sprinted down to the closest servo for ice, midway through the first third.
The final stats had proven a mathematical winner; 3 thirds of 30 minutes resulting in 30 goals scored.
Pythagoras 3FC -9
Athletic Geometry -11
All Sartres -10
Andrew F (groin)
Everyone Else (general soreness)